the cost of the Y2K non-problem

Joseph M. Reagle Jr. (
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 15:00:11 -0500

I've been watching the Y2K concern, FUD, and hype flow by and have had the
following thoughts:

1. I wonder if I take a bunch of money out of an ATM machine on new years,
could I claim that I never did that, that it was an error? Maybe if I
shifted some money through various accounts...
2. Given companies are taking efforts to cover their asses and limit their
liability, is this going to be a mechanism of liability arbitrage? Translate
those bad loans you made into a Y2K problem, which you had been certified
on, voila!
3. Given companies like to blame people/org mistakes on computers, is Y2K
going to be the biggest scape-goat of the new century? When my UPS package
is lost, will I hear, "woops, a Y2K error."

The real question here is, assuming that Y2K didn't end up being a problem,
how much of a problem would we see? Are insurance companies and governments
mobilizing to deal with the massive amount of fraudulent (or confused) Y2K
claims, never mind the real ones?

BTW: Anyone here worked on ATM code? <smile>


Joseph Reagle Jr. W3C:
Policy Analyst Personal: